Waxahachie Police Explorer Arturo Vasquez is in the ICU trauma unit at Parkland Hospital after sustaining serious injuries in a single-vehicle accident that took place on Sept. 22. The explorer post is hosting a barbecue lunch Friday Oct. 4 to help cover the family's medical bills.
“We don’t know if speed was a factor or if the power steering on the car went out. Art said he heard a clicking noise in the steering wheel,” Post volunteer and event organizer Jennifer Murrey said. “He ran off the road and hit a tree head on. He sat out there for a couple of hours just trying to free himself but he could not.”
Murrey said the accident caused Vasquez’s cell phone to fly out of the car, but he was able to contact emergency responders from another cellphone that was stored inside the glove box. Vasquez was able to provide dispatchers with a general location, but the call disconnected when his phone ran out of charge. Dispatchers were able to pin point Vasquez’s location on Farm-to-Market 878 near Garrett by pinging the cellphone to determine the last cell tower the phone had used.
Once first responders arrived on scene they were able to free him from the car using tools and Vasquez was taken by CareFlite air ambulance to Parkland Hospital.
Murrey said Vasquez has already undergone several surgeries already and still has several to go. However, his doctors feel that his life is no longer in danger. When members of the post and friends heard about Vasquez’s accident they immediately wanted to help, because he would do the same for them.
“Art is a guy that I can call if I need help, and I can always count on him to be there. He always has a great attitude towards life and brings everyone up. Even when he was laying in the hospital bed Sunday night, he was upset because he was going to miss out on an event where he would be serving others,” former explorer Collin Patterson said. “He would give the shirt off his back for someone without thinking twice. Art has always had our backs, so now it is our turn as his family to stand up and show him we have his.”
The post is planning a fundraiser called “Badges and Barbeque,” which will be held in the parking lot of the Waxahachie Police Department. Explorers will be selling barbecue meals for $5. Each meal includes a barbecue sandwich, chips and bottled water. The meals will be sold before, during and after the Waxahachie ISD Homecoming Parade. Explorers will also be selling bottled water separately to parade goers. Several donation stations will be set up where people who don’t want to purchase a meal or water can make a donation to help Vasquez and his family.
Fellow explorer Jake Granger said Vasquez is the type of person that you can depend on for anything and will help you no matter what. Vasquez has given a lot to the community through the past three years as an explorer, completing different projects for the community. Now he needs the community to be there for him, Granger said.
At the time of the accident Vasquez had no health insurance and only liability insurance on his vehicle. This is one of the first of several fundraisers the post has planed to help Vasquez and his family through this difficult time. The post will be setting up around 9:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the police department and will close down around 5 or 6 p.m.
Murrey said they are looking for help from residents and local businesses with fundraising to provide items such as additional briskets to make the fundraiser even more successful.
Vasquez had been a part of the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office Explorer Post and is currently a member of the Waxahachie Police Department Explorer Post. The law enforcement explorer program educates youth about the role of law enforcement in the community and helps to build leadership skills.
Waxahachie Police Department Community Relations Officer and Post Advisor Wess Winn said Vasquez is a very giving person who would help you with anything and has a big heart.
“The thing that strikes me about Art is that he is a very humble person. The times I have been around him, he is a very personal type of guy. Even in a short amount of time you feel like you have known him for a long time. If you need something, he helps you with it,” Winn said. “This kid is in a bad situation. He was taking care of his mom who can’t work right now. He needs help to get back on his feet ,because he is not afraid to work but he can’t work right now. He needs people to step up if they are able to help him.”
Monetary donations for Vasquez can be dropped off at the police department. The Waxahachie Police Department is located at 216 N. College St. in downtown. A donation account with Citizens National Bank is also in the process of being set up.
People who have questions about the event or wish to make a donation can contact Murrey at 940-300-3300.